Bothell approves new City Hall complex

BOTHELL — The transformation of Bothell’s downtown area has officially begun.

The City Council on Tuesday approved an $850,000 agreement with Vulcan Real Estate to design a city block with a new city hall and a large new development.

Vulcan Real Estate, part of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen’s multifaceted business empire, is perhaps best known for its redevelopment of the South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle.

“Vulcan is one of the outstanding developers in North America, and certainly in Washington state,” Mayor Mark Lamb said.

Under the plan, Vulcan would build a new city hall to replace the current building at 18305 101st Ave. NE, built in 1938. The new building would be 60,000 square feet in size, compared with 11,000 square feet for the current building. The city would lease the new building from Vulcan with the payments applied toward purchase.

“It’s build to suit, lease to own,” city manager Bob Stowe said. The city hall portion of the plan, including an underground parking garage for 300 vehicles, is estimated to cost $40 million. Plans also include a large public plaza.

The rest of the block would be rebuilt with 100,000 square feet of mixed-used development, including apartments, condos and retail stores. The details have yet to be determined, but will be decided upon with help from the public in the coming months, officials said.

Construction could begin late this year and be finished in 2013, said Ada Healey, vice president of Vulcan Real Estate.

The city owns most of the block. The city also owns 20 acres of property in the downtown area, including a large parcel on which the McMenamins brewery is planning a hotel, restaurant, pool, spa, brewery, cinema and live music venue. Eventually the city hopes to attract $650 million in private development on those parcels.

The downtown redevelopment plan has been in the works for six years, officials said. The city has set aside one-time tax revenues from construction for capital projects, enabling it to afford the project, officials said.

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